Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Project Gunwalker Part VI

I was screaming this from the start!!

By Bob Owens

Mega-Scandal: Was ‘Gunwalker’ a PR Op for Gun Control?

Buckle up: An agent testifies that surveillance stopped at the border, meaning the operation didn't actually trace guns to cartels to make arrests. The only conclusion? Law enforcement wasn't the point, orchestrated violence was, and that's a history-making scandal.
The most damning revelations coming out of the hearings on Operation Fast and Furious held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are the unmistakable indications that the program was never designed to succeed as a law enforcement operation at all.
A quartet of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents and supervisors turned into whistleblowers to bring the operation down, but only after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in the Arizona desert. Two of the weapons recovered at the scene of Terry’s murder were traced to the operation.
Fast and Furious, also known by the more accurate “Gunwalker,” allowed known straw purchasers to buy large quantities of firearms — often a dozen or more semi-automatic rifles — at a time with the full knowledge of ATF agents and executives. The guns were then smuggled into Mexico, as frustrated front-line ATF agents watched, under strict orders to do nothing.
ATF agents testifying in front of the House Oversight Committee could not explain how the operation was supposed to succeed when their surveillance efforts stopped at the border and interdiction was never an option.
ATF Agent John Dodson, testifying in front of the committee, said that in his entire law enforcement career, he had “never been involved in or even heard of an operation in which law enforcement officers let guns walk.” He continued: “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”
The obvious answer is that Gunwalker’s objective was never intended to be a “legitimate law enforcement interest.” Instead, it appears that ATF Acting Director Ken Melson and Department of Justice senior executives specifically created an operation that was designed from the outset to arm Mexican narco-terrorists and increase violence substantially along both sides of the Southwest border.
Success was measured not by the number of criminals being incarcerated, but by the number of weapons transiting the border and the violence those weapons caused. An ATF manager was “delighted” when Gunwalker guns started showing up at drug busts. It would be entirely consistent with this theory if DOJ communications reflected the approval of the ATF senior officials they were colluding with — but as we know, Holder’s Department of Justice refuses to cooperate.
At the same time in 2009 that federal law enforcement agencies (the ATF, the DOJ, and presumably Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security) were creating the operation that led to the executive branch being the largest gun smuggler in the Southwest, the president’s team was crafting the rhetoric to sell the crisis they were creating.
On television, in various news outlets, and even in a joint appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama pushed the 90 percent lie, implying that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexican cartel violence came from U.S. gun shops.
At the same time they were damning gun dealers in public, the administration was secretly forcing them to provide weapons to the cartels, by the armful and without oversight. More than one gun industry insider suggests that the administration extorted cooperation and silence from these gun shops. As the ATF has the power to summarily shut dealers down for the most minor of offenses, that is very, very possible.
The administration has spared no effort to stop the investigation in its tracks. Democrat senators attempted topoison the well the day before the Oversight Committee’s hearings. The ranking Democrat on the committee did as well, before being flummoxed into silence by the testimony presented.
And Obama himself has offered the solutions we would expect from a gun prohibitionist:
Faced with a Congress hostile to even slight restrictions of Second Amendment rights, the Obama administration is exploring potential changes to gun laws that can be secured strictly through executive action, administration officials say.
The Department of Justice held the first in what is expected to be a series of meetings on Tuesday afternoon with a group of stakeholders in the ongoing gun-policy debates. Before the meeting, officials said part of the discussion was expected to center around the White House’s options for shaping policy on its own or through its adjoining agencies and departments — on issues ranging from beefing up background checks to encouraging better data-sharing.
Administration officials said talk of executive orders or agency action are among a host of options that President Barack Obama and his advisers are considering.
As there is a pattern of behavior to suggest that Gunwalker was not a botched law enforcement operation, but was instead an effort by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to carry out a subversive anti-gun policy of the Obama administration, it is pertinent to examine Obama’s past associations with anti-gun groups.
From 1994-2002, Obama was a director of the Joyce Foundation. Joyce is a progressive organization dedicated to “social justice,” and one of their primary areas of advocacy has always been the funding of gun control organizations. Joyce has long attempted to erode Second Amendment rights, and during Obama’s tenure as a director went so far as to try to subvert Second Amendment scholarship. Joyce gave millions to effectively buy law reviews with grants, and then used those reviews to publish only papers that attacked the individual rights interpretation. The goal was to so pervert legal scholarship that the scholarship would affect Supreme Court decisions.
Joyce director Obama, and those surrounding him, internalized fellow Chicagoan Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.While the Joyce plot narrowly failed, it affirmed Alinsky’s strategy of agitating, fanning hostility, and disorganizing the public in order to force radical change.
We know that Obama’s friends in Joyce Foundation-supported gun control groups suspiciously have not attacked the administration’s gun-running, but instead have attacked the Oversight Committee’s investigation.
We know that of the 7,900 weapons (just under 8 percent of the guns captured from cartels) that came from gun shops in the United States, about 2,000 of them were the result of Gunwalker.
We know that Gunwalker was never designed to interdict the weapons the ATF and DOJ pushed objecting gun sellers to provide. We know that management reacted to the spiraling violence that Gunwalker caused not with concern, but with enthusiasm.
The Department of Justice claims that their inspector general will investigate Gunwalker, but it appears obvious to the very agents that brought this scandal into the open that they have a clear conflict of interest. There are already calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Gunwalker.
Considering the arming of narco-terrorist gangs, the destabilizing geopolitical effect on Mexico, the foreign policy ramifications, and the possibility of extrajudicial and criminal activity at the highest levels of the executive branch, a special prosecutor should be just one avenue of investigation. This could possibly lead to prison for senior administration officials and an indictment against President Barack Obama himself.
by W. James Antle III
Federal firearms agents feared it would backfire. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has called it "felony stupid." The response to Operation Fast and Furious has lived up to the program's name, with the Obama administration under scrutiny for what now seems like a tragically harebrained scheme.
An initiative of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Fast and Furious was a gun-running sting operation that has gone badly awry, letting hundreds of weapons flow into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and leaving at least one federal agent dead.
When someone walks into an American gun shop to purchase weapons and then pass them along to Mexican drug gangs, it had always been standard operating procedure for the federal government to build cases against these suspected straw buyers quickly and interdict the weapons.
The brainstorm behind Operation Fast and Furious was that letting some of these straw buyers walk off with the semiautomatic weapons would enable the government to move away from targeting small buyers and instead bring down entire arms trafficking networks when the guns were traced. Unfortunately, the weapons too often turned up again only after they had been used in subsequent crimes, including murders.
Two guns linked to Operation Fast and Furious were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's December slaying in Arizona. Terry's mother was asked what she would say to those responsible if a gun being tracked under the program was the one that killed her son. "I do not know what I would say to them," she said, "but I would want to know what they'd say to me."
All told, over 2,000 guns -- including AK-47s and .50-caliber rifles, and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition -- were allowed to "walk" into the possession of Mexican drug lords. The ATF admits that nearly 800 of these guns were used in crimes on both sides of the border, endangering American and Mexican lives alike.
Special agents John Dodson, Olindo "Lee" Casa, and Peter Forcelli all told Issa's congressional committee that their superiors ordered them to allow suspects to walk away with dangerous weapons, often over their strenuous objections. The agents testified that the strategy was never very likely to work, because serial numbers were the only means by which they could track the guns. GPS technology was unavailable. Forcelli called the techniques "delusional," estimating that guns wound up in Mexico twice as often as the United States, and Casa said he had never heard of letting guns walk before he worked in the ATF's Phoenix office.
The consensus is that Operation Fast and Furious was "reckless" and a "disaster." Now the only question is how far up the chain of command the decision-making went. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have both said that they did not authorize the program. So who did? So far senior ATF officials have taken the brunt of the blame, but lawmakers are looking at the Justice Department.
"The department's leadership allowed the ATF to implement this flawed strategy, fully aware of what was taking place on the ground," Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) concluded in their report. "This hapless plan allowed the guns in question to disappear out of the agency's view. As a result, this chain of events inevitably placed the guns in the hands of violent criminals."
Congressional investigators uncovered Justice Department memos urging a different approach to handling border violence. "Given the national scope of this issue, merely seizing firearms through interdiction will not stop firearms trafficking to Mexico," reads an October 2009 memo from then Deputy Attorney General David Ogden's office. "We must identify, investigate, and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them."
Issa's committee has leaked emails showing the acting director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson, and his acting deputy, William Hoover, received weekly updates on the operation's progress. The Wall Street Journal reported that Melson may be ousted this week in connection with the Operation Fast and Furious controversy.
Attempts to discover more information have led to a standoff between the Oversight Committee and the Obama Justice Department. Last week, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich protested that some of the requested documents would endanger ongoing prosecutions. Issa held up an entirely redacted document and shouted at Weich. "How dare you make an opening statement of cooperation!" the chairman thundered. "You've given us black paper."
Special agent Forcelli said simply, "Someone needs to step up and say, 'We made a mistake.'" Things are getting furiouser and furiouser.
by Susan Jones
Amid reports that Kenneth Melson will be forced to resign as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a Republican congressman says “he should” lose his job. 
Melson “was part of the bad judgment” ATF exhibited in allowing guns to be sold in the U.S. to people acting on behalf of Mexican criminals, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.
But the bad judgment attached to ATF’s “Operation Fast and Furious” goes higher than Melson, Issa said:
Attorney General Eric Holder “should have known – I believe it was his obligation to know” what was going on at ATF, Issa said. Holder wasn’t doing his job properly if he didn’t know, the congressman added.
The ATF intended to track the guns sold to straw purchasers in the U.S. to find out where in Mexico they were going, but the ATF lost track of the weapons.
The guns that were sold in the U.S. didn’t necessarily go to Mexico, Issa said. Two ended up in Arizona, at the place where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed in December.
The botched mission “did sort of develop at ATF,” Issa said on Tuesday, but higher-ups in the U.S. Justice Department had to know about it – all the way up to Lanny Breuer at least, he said. Breuer is the assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Issa also noted that a federal judge had to sign off on wiretaps used as part of the ATF operation.
Issa indicated that even if Melson does resign, people at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department must be held accountable.
Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held hearings on Operation Fast and Furious last week. He recently told CNSNews.com that he believes the Justice Department is covering up information relevant to the congressional investigation.

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